NOW I’ve already said that the Eagles would win the NFC East, now it’s time I discussed how.
You have stuff to do, so I’m not going to try and cram it all in one article. Instead I’m going to break it up into 3 parts: Offense, Defense and of course, Special Teams. Yesterday we looked at Defense.
With Special Teams winning the hidden yardage battle and helping to offset what will likely be a so-so Defense, winning the NFC East will come down to the Offense. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. (If your hand is up: “Welcome to Earth. We’re called Humans.”)
To start with, there’s no question of who the starters are. Barring injury and/or suspension, this is your Offense:
If during this preseason you think the Offense seems different than last year, relax. It’s not your imagination. This year Chip Kelly is going to employ a more genuine version of the Spread than what he rolled out in 2013.
Last year due to the presence of DJax, Kelly could get away with all sorts of things in the box because most teams didn’t walk their Safeties up with him out there. They also took a LB off the field and replaced him with a DB to compensate for us starting 3 WR’s. The result was some pretty smooth sailing for LeSean McCoy.
This year you can expect more 4WR formations, or more accurately, 3WR formations where Darren Sproles goes in motion and rarely ever sets before the snap. The idea being to spread the defense horizontally, and catch them in the middle of shifting to adjust to our motion. Spread them thin enough and it’s easier for the RB to find a hole to punch through with minimal traffic and nothing but daylight ahead.
Last year we spread defenses more vertically than horizontally, and it was hugely successful. Since we can’t do that this year, we hoping to do the opposite and get better results.
Last month I wrote an article discussing how teams could stop the version of the Spread we’re going to run this year. It was mostly just to give fans a heads up on what our opponents may attempt to do. Stopping us isn’t rocket science, but it would be far from an easy trick.
My guess is the only team in our division who could pull it off is the Redskins. However I doubt their coach is willing to absorb the penalties necessary to get it done. I hope I’m right about that. The Giants and Cowboys have coaching staffs with the stones to try it, but they lack the horses to get it done.
Our division rivals being weak in opposition to our biggest strength is why the NFC East title looks like it’s on a return trip to Philly. It’s not our system that’s our rival’s biggest hurdle, it’s that they aren’t yet built to stop it.